LiveDUP leadership race - DUP Alderman John Carson causes outrage by suggesting Michelle O'Neill 'will be put back in her kennel' by new party leader

A DUP councillor who claimed the Covid-19 pandemic was punishment by God for legalising same sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland has courted controversy again by suggesting the new leader of the DUP "will put" deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill, "back in her kennel".

Friday, 30th April 2021, 5:42 pm

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Alderman John Carson.

LIVE UPDATES: DUP leadership race - DUP Alderman John Carson causes outrage by suggesting Michelle O’Neill ‘will be put back in her kennel’ by new party leader

Last updated: Friday, 30 April, 2021, 16:27

  • Arlene Foster confirms she is also standing down as MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone
  • Alderman John Carson causes outrage by suggesting Michelle O’Neill ‘will be put back in her kennel’
  • None of the MLAs who signed letter of no confidence have contacted Arlene Foster to tell her why
  • Edwin Poots is favourite to succeed Arlene Foster as leader of the DUP

DUP Alderman John Carson causes outrage by suggesting Michelle O'Neill 'will be put back in her kennel' by new party leader

DUP Alderman, John Carson.

A DUP councillor who claimed the Covid-19 pandemic was punishment by God for legalising same sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland has courted controversy again by suggesting the new leader of the DUP "will put" deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill, "back in her kennel".

Alderman John Carson also landed himself in trouble towards the end of 2020 when he claimed the Covid-19 vaccines being used in Northern Ireland contained “stem cells and tissue from aborted babies”.

Alderman Carson’s vaccine comments were described by DUP leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster, as “palpably not true” and she said the matter would be dealt with internally.

At the beginning of the pandemic Alderman Carson claimed the Covid-19 pandemic was punishment by God for legalising same sex marriage and abortion in Northern Ireland.

“I said when abortion was legalised that our nation would be judged by God because of its departure from his word and the legalisation of the murder of the unborn child as well as same sex marriage,” wrote Alderman Carson on social media.

“I was laughed at and mocked by some but as l said at the time they laughed at Noah until the rain started.

“You reap what you sow and our nation is now reaping the judgement of God because of an immoral and corrupt government.

“It is time to repent and turn again to the God of our fathers,” declared Alderman Carson.

The DUP distanced itself from Alderman Carson’s comments at the time.

The most recent controversy occurred when Alderman Carson commented on a graphic promoting Edwin Poots as the person to succeed Arlene Foster as leader of the DUP.

In the comments section below the graphic there was a picture of deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill.

One of the comments below this image suggested Mr. Poots would challenge Ms. O’Neill and Sinn Fein in the Assembly.

Alderman Carson replied saying “... she will be put back in her kennel”.

UUP MLA for Upper Bann, Doug Beattie, described the comment as

“Awful just awful comments.

“We can disagree on politics but no women deserve misogynistic comments like this.

“Unbelievable this is from an elected representative,” said Mr. Beattie.

We have contacted the DUP to ask if it would like to respond but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

Arlene Foster confirms she is standing down as MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone

Arlene Foster confirmed she would be stepping down as an Assembly member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

“My work in my constituency is the work I will miss the most,” said Mrs. Foster fighting back tears.

Asked whether she would like to join the Lords, she said those decisions were not made by her.

She said she wished whoever leads the party well, but she would not be drawn on who she would be supporting in any leadership contest.

“I don’t know who the next leader of the party is going to be, I don’t know what their policies are going to be, undoubtedly we’ll hear more of that in the coming weeks, but I am simply saying to you that I hope that, as the largest party and as the largest Unionist Party, that is a positive message that we’re bringing forward to the future, because I think there’s a very positive story to tell,” she said.

Mrs Foster said she hoped devolution was not at risk.

“The future of Northern Ireland is very much tied up with devolution and being able to take those decisions locally, it’s very important,” she said.

Arlene Foster has not heard from any of the DUP MLAs, MPs or peers who put their names to a letter of no confidence in her leadership of the party

DUP leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster.

Arlene Foster has said none of the party colleagues who moved to oust her from leadership have spoken to her since.

Mrs Foster said she still had not seen the letter of no confidence that was signed by a majority of the DUP’s senior elected representatives.

Mrs Foster said she would wait until she steps down as First Minister at the end of June before outlining her intention on whether she will leave the DUP altogether.

The First Minister said she was “at peace with her decision” to quit local politics.

“It’s been a turbulent week, it’s been a week where I’ve had to make pretty big decisions,” she said.

“But I think the time is right to move on and to do something different, and that’s what I’ll do.”

She added: “I still haven’t seen the letter that was talked about so I presume I will see that at some stage.”

On a visit to Kirkistown Primary School in Co Down, Mrs. Foster described current state of play concerning politics as a “brutal game”.

“Politics is a very brutal game I think everybody knows that to be the case. I haven’t actually spoken to any of the colleagues who are purported to have signed the letters, they haven’t been in touch. So, you know, that’s a matter for them. I’ll move on and look forward and I’m looking forward to the next chapter as to what I’m going to do with my life.”

Mrs Foster said she hoped the DUP would continue to “look forward”.

“I joined a party that wanted to look forward, that wanted to build a Northern Ireland for everybody, that recognised that there was divisions in society and to try and deal with those divisions and to move Northern Ireland to a better place and I hope that’s the direction of the party that continues,” she said.

Lagan Valley MLA Edwin Poots

Arlene Foster continued: “It was made clear to me by the number of people who felt that they wanted to sign the letter, which as I say I haven’t seen yet, that I didn’t have the support of my colleagues and when you don’t have the support of your colleagues you really can’t continue in the job as party leader.

“So the time is right to move on, to do something different and do something new and I’m very much looking forward to that challenge.”

Mrs Foster made clear that some of her “very good friends” did not sign the letter of no confidence.

“I think you should also recognise that not everybody signed the letter, some very good friends did not. And I think you should note that as well,” she said.

The DUP leader added: “I haven’t really had any engagement from any of the colleagues who felt that I should leave, so I suppose that’s the disappointment – that I don’t actually know what the reason is for it, but, as I say, you know, that’s politics, all political careers have to come to an end, mine will come to an end at the end of June.”

DUP MLA Chris Stalford is back his ‘friend’ Edwin Poots to be next party leader

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DUP’s Diane Dodds refuses to be drawn on her future as a minister

Diane Dodds.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds declined to be drawn on her own future as a minister following Arlene Foster’s resignation.

“Well, you know, everyone serves at the discretion of the leader and I accept and respect that,” she said.

“For now I will continue to do my job as the Economy Minister to set about helping the economy to recover and rebuild and reboot.”

Mrs Dodds paid tribute to the outgoing DUP leader.

“She has been a great leader of the party and of unionism,” she said.

“Arlene has always been a great defender of unionism and leader of the party and First Minister of Northern Ireland.

“The party will now set about the process of electing its new leader and after that it is an internal party matter and we will continue that process next week.”

Mrs Dodds insisted any new leader would need to appeal to a “broad” range of unionists.

“That new leader will have to have a broad coalition of support for the Union, and will have to build that broad coalition of support for the Union within Northern Ireland. And of course we know that they will be able to do that,” she said.

    Arlene Foster is ‘quitting’ the DUP for good

    Arlene Foster.

    Arlene Foster will leave the DUP completely when she steps down as leader at on May 28, according to BBC Northern Ireland.

    It is believed Mrs. Foster wants to completely cut her ties with the DUP as it is, in her opinion, not the party it once was when she joined in 2004 after leaving the UUP the previous year.

    Mrs. Foster confirmed her decision to stand down on Wednesday after it emerged on Tuesday that a majority of DUP MLAs had signed a letter of no confidence her leadership of the party.

    Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots, has officially declared his desire to succeed Mrs. Foster.

    Sir. Jeffrey Donaldson is thought to be interested in running too and will officially announce his decision over the next few days.

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